What is an integrated graphics card

Last Updated: Mar 5, 2024 by

When it comes to computers, there are many components that work together to create a seamless user experience. One of these components is the graphics card, which is responsible for rendering images and videos on your screen. While most people are familiar with dedicated graphics cards, there is another type of graphics card that is commonly found in computers – the integrated graphics card. In this article, we will explore what an integrated graphics card is, how it differs from a dedicated graphics card, and its pros and cons.

What is a Graphics Card?

Before we dive into the specifics of integrated graphics cards, let’s first understand what a graphics card is and what it does. A graphics card, also known as a video card or GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), is a hardware component that is responsible for rendering images and videos on your computer screen. It works by taking data from the CPU (Central Processing Unit) and converting it into images that can be displayed on your screen.

Dedicated Graphics Card vs Integrated Graphics Card

There are two main types of graphics cards – dedicated and integrated. A dedicated graphics card, also known as a discrete graphics card, is a separate component that is installed in your computer and has its own dedicated memory. It is designed specifically for graphics-intensive tasks such as gaming, video editing, and 3D rendering. On the other hand, an integrated graphics card, also known as an onboard graphics card, is built into the motherboard of your computer and shares memory with the CPU. It is designed for basic graphics tasks such as web browsing, video playback, and office applications.

How Does an Integrated Graphics Card Work?

An integrated graphics card works by using a portion of the computer’s RAM (Random Access Memory) to store and process graphics data. This means that the performance of an integrated graphics card is heavily dependent on the amount of RAM available. The more RAM your computer has, the better the performance of the integrated graphics card will be.

Pros and Cons of Integrated Graphics Cards

Now that we have a basic understanding of what an integrated graphics card is and how it works, let’s take a look at its pros and cons.

Pros of Integrated Graphics Cards

  • Cost-effective: One of the main advantages of an integrated graphics card is that it is significantly cheaper than a dedicated graphics card. This is because it is built into the motherboard and does not require a separate purchase.
  • Energy efficient: Since an integrated graphics card shares memory with the CPU, it consumes less power compared to a dedicated graphics card. This makes it a great option for laptops and other portable devices.
  • Good for basic tasks: If you only use your computer for basic tasks such as web browsing, video playback, and office applications, then an integrated graphics card will be more than enough to meet your needs.

Cons of Integrated Graphics Cards

  • Limited performance: The biggest disadvantage of an integrated graphics card is its limited performance. It is not designed for graphics-intensive tasks and will struggle to run modern games and applications.
  • Limited upgrade options: Unlike dedicated graphics cards, which can be easily upgraded, integrated graphics cards cannot be upgraded. This means that if you want better graphics performance, you will need to purchase a new computer.
  • Shared memory: Since an integrated graphics card shares memory with the CPU, it can slow down the overall performance of your computer. This is especially true if you have a lot of programs running at the same time.

Integrated Graphics Cards in Gaming

One of the most common questions people have about integrated graphics cards is whether they are suitable for gaming. The short answer is no. While an integrated graphics card may be able to run some older or less demanding games, it will struggle to run modern games at acceptable frame rates. This is because modern games are designed to take advantage of the advanced features and dedicated memory of a dedicated graphics card.

Conclusion

In conclusion, an integrated graphics card is a type of graphics card that is built into the motherboard of a computer and shares memory with the CPU. It is designed for basic graphics tasks and is significantly cheaper and more energy-efficient than a dedicated graphics card. However, it is not suitable for graphics-intensive tasks such as gaming and has limited upgrade options. If you are a casual computer user who only needs basic graphics performance, then an integrated graphics card will be more than enough to meet your needs. However, if you are a gamer or a professional who needs advanced graphics performance, then a dedicated graphics card is the way to go.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.